Private investment company Ajax Holdings announced on Wednesday that it is acquiring Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate, the longest standing real estate brokerage firm in Aspen.
The acquisition includes the company’s office building in Aspen at 514 E. Hyman Ave. and all of its assets. Coldwell Banker Mason Morse is retaining its management staff and Ajax Holding’s Brooke Peterson will assume the position of CEO of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse. The business’ current CEO, Bob Starodoj, will remain with the company as a broker associate.
Representatives from both Ajax Holdings and Coldwell Banker Mason Morse declined to comment on how much the acquisition went for because the deal hasn’t been finalized, but the transaction is expected to close in early 2013, according to Will Herndon, president of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse.
The sale is good for the business because Ajax Holdings will provide financial stability and security for the real estate company’s future, Herndon said. Ajax Holdings has investors that will provide the real estate company with “fresh capital” for marketing and office remodeling purposes, Peterson said.
Peterson originally approached Starodoj with ideas about a partnership between the two companies, he said.
Coldwell Banker Mason Morse was not in financial trouble prior to the deal, but Starodoj had been exploring various succession plans as his retirement approached, Herndon said. Starodoj has been with the company since 1967 and wanted to be sure it had future support after his retirement, Herndon said.
“Bob wanted to find people who knew Aspen, who knew this way of life, and who frankly supported the existing management,” Herndon said. “And these guys do all of these things.”
In addition to the office upgrades, Ajax Holdings plans to immediately incorporate property management services into the real estate company’s business model, Peterson said.
Peterson plans on meeting with the company’s management team to identify the firm’s goals to decide whether any other changes need to be made, he said.
“I intend on doing a lot of listening and a lot of learning,” Peterson said.
In 2011, Mason and Morse Real Estate merged with Coldwell Banker, creating one of the largest real estate firms in the Aspen area. The company currently has four offices in Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Redstone, and this year it opened a sales gallery in the Hyatt Grand Aspen.
The relatively young Ajax Holdings was created by Peterson, an attorney who has been in the valley since 1975, and a handful of other locals, who requested not to be identified. The group began its property management services about 18 months ago and became a holding company last week, according to Peterson.